I have had the good fortune of driving a car on the Autobahnen / Motorways / Expressways of Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, U.K., etc. I have also travelled on many Freeways / Expressways / Interstate / Turnpikes in the USA. I have no hesitation in declaring the Allahabad bypass on NH2 as ‘world-class’.
The Allahabad Bypass is a superb 4-lane dual carriageway, 82 km long, passing mostly through sparsely populated areas or agricultural land. Whereas most of the new NH2 (Golden Quadrilateral) more or less follows the same old route as Sher Shah Suri’s Grand Trunk Road, the Allahabad Bypass follows a completely new route through land newly acquired by NHAI for the purpose. As during my last drive on this stretch, I did not come across a single petrol pump and hardly any dhabas. Toll collection has still not started here and any car or bike enthusiast can enjoy high speed driving here free of cost.
Let me share with you the pluses and minuses (in my opinion) of this wonderful stretch of road :
Ø Excellent construction.
Ø Smooth concrete surface throughout.
Ø Four-lane dual carriageway (like the rest of GQ).
Ø As it is passing through wilderness, there is negligible local traffic (like rikshas, bicycles, motorcycles, hand-carts, bullock-carts, tractors, auto-rikshas, pedestrians, etc.).
Ø Between the two sides of the dual-carriageway, there are very few interconnecting ‘cuts’.
Ø A large percentage of this new stretch is fenced off from both sides – so hardly any stray cattle or stray humans.
Ø The stretch of 82 km through wilderness and negligible local traffic is adequately long to give one a nice thrill for 40 minutes or so.
Ø There are far too many curves on this stretch. This handicap is mitigated to some extent because most curves are gentle.
Ø There are too many culverts on this stretch (necessitated due to the terrain). This handicap is again mitigated to a large extent by the excellent build quality which has ensured that the joints between the road and culverts are smooth and bump-free even at high speeds.
Where is it?
Ø When you are driving from Varanasi, you will find the starting point of the Allahabad Bypass exactly 93 km after crossing the Ganga bridge at Varanasi.
Ø When you are driving from Kanpur, you will find the starting point of the Allahabad Bypass exactly 149 km after the Kanpur city exit point at Chakeri.
I could maintain a steady speed band of 120-140 kmph on this stretch without feeling that I was taking any undue risk.
But the Bombay-Poona road, IMHO, is still the best stretch in India (in my limited personal experience, as I am yet to see many other new highways in India) for high speed driving because :
Ø It has very long straight stretches.
Ø It is much wider (6-lane).
Ø It is much better insulated from stray cattle / humans.
Ø The two sides of the highway are far apart mostly, so there is no question of any ‘cut’ or vehicles moving in the wrong direction.
As I have written in an earlier post on this blog, Bombay-Poona road is the only highway in India where I have done 160 kmph on two occasions – once on a friend’s Hyundai Accent Viva and later on my own Swift VDi.